It took me a long time to fall in love for the very first time.
A long, long time.
And once I did, I stayed in love, going on 33 years now.
I was raised by a single mother who divorced my father when she was still pregnant with me. She remarried when I was six years old. Shuttling between my remarried mother and my remarried father – who had visitation – I never felt like I belonged anywhere. Coupled with the fact my parents (the biological ones, not the steps) often spoke of the other in very derogatory and mean terms, lamenting their time together, I always felt there was a subtle implication that if I hadn’t been born, things would have turned out better for them.
Let me be clear: neither of them ever said this to me. It was more an impression ingrained in me by their vitriol about one other.
So I promised myself from a very young age that I would never fall in love and get married. It was too hurtful if things went wrong – like it did in my parent’s marriage – especially if there were children involved and in the cross hairs.
That promise broke when I met my now-husband.
I was in my twenties and had had one steady boyfriend up until then. Our relationship was toxic, but I really didn’t care because I knew I had no future with him. Once we broke it off I wasn’t even sorry or sad.
Yeah, I know. That says a lot about me right there, doesn’t it.
Not a week later I met the man who would change my life – and my mindset – forever.
We met, as happenstance would have it, while I was changing a urinary catheter on a male patient I was assigned. I’d never changed a male’s catheter before despite being a nurse for a while, and since he was the intern assigned to the patient and he’d ordered the catheter placed, he was in the room when I performed the procedure.
And he talked me through it.
I was blushing like wildfire, totally embarrassed that this good looking guy who was only a few years older than I was, was instructing me in how to insert a urinary catheter into a man.
A naked and comatose man.
But he was totally calm and very patient and professional.
It’s a seven day wonder my face didn’t explode from the heat rising up it when he said, “Okay, grasp the shaft in your left hand and hold it taut, upright, so you can slide the cannula down through its length,” or, “Now, tape the catheter to his leg but don’t do it so tight that you’ll yank his penis.”
Talking about genitalia with someone you’ve never met before – and of the opposite sex – while you’re holding said genitalia in your gloved hands is not something I recommend for the fainthearted.
Once we got through it – and I survived – I thanked him and he asked me out to dinner on one of our rare days off from the hospital.
We dated for four years before he asked me to marry him. He wanted to be settled in his career and able to provide for his wife and family, because, as he told me, I’m doing this once in my life, and it’s important I get it right from the beginning.
How could I help but love him?
33 years later, still do!
Vanilla with a Twist
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Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop's machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn't had a day off in a decade and wonders if she'll ever be able to live a worry-free life.
Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher's Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy's shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.
Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?
More About Peggy
Peggy Jaeger writes contemporary romances about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all aspects of life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness, and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.